The Envelope‘s Tom O’Neil fears that Jon Stewart may turn out to be “the worst Oscar host ever” when he takes the mike on the Kodak theatre stage on March 5th. O’Neil allows that Stewart has an “edgy defiant ‘tude that attracts young hip TV viewers,” but says he’s “a comic assassin” whose tuxedoed material may be too withering and ascerbic and “has the potential of being a catas- trophe of epic Cecil B. DeMille proportions.” As former House speaker Sam Rayburn used to say, “Aww, shit, sonny.” Everyone knows the secret to being a good Oscar host is to maintain an underlying tone of affection, and O’Neill is presuming that Stewart hasn’t figured that out or plans on ignoring it because Chris Rock did last year? I’m with David Thomson on this. He told L.A. Times reporter Rachel Abramowitz for her piece on the Stewart hire that “the Oscars have grown into this appalling circus…and we’re trapped with it, and very often the films are not worthy. I don’t think the host is terribly important, but to the degree that we’re fed up with the show, a new host is fresh meat. A new host can say, ‘I’ll only do it if I can do it my own way.’ That’s the real bargain — whether the real host is given liberty or the academy sits on him. If they give Jon Stewart his freedom, it would be a merciful touch. He’s always against pomp. Maybe he can be fun.”